It's not that unusual: Tom Jones goes back to the roots
The writer, rock journalist, broadcaster and wine expert, Robert Sandall, died on Tuesday morning, 20 July, aged 58, after a long battle with cancer. For many years he was the rock critic at The Sunday Times, and then wrote more generally for the Culture section, where he flourished until the very end of his life. Only a month ago, despite being in severe pain and aware of the limited time he had left, he turned in a polished and imaginative review of a film about the Doors full of the wit and observation for which he was known. He also wrote for Q magazine, Mojo, Rolling Stone and The Word.
'Kenny Aronoff is a powerful, powerful drummer'
A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside a synth-punk enigma
When Flowered Up formed on a Camden council estate in 1989, they didn't seem to have much of an agenda beyond "a few good gigs and some laughs", as their lead vocalist Liam Maher put it two years later. Yet the London band managed to encapsulate the hedonistic spirit of the acid house generation to perfection in 1992 with the 13-minute epic "Weekender", their sole Top 20 entry. That year, they appeared at two Madstock events in London's Finsbury Park but the New Musical Express chose to sensationalise Morrissey's antics with a Union Jack on the first day rather than draw the obvious parallels between Ian Dury and the Blockheads, also on the bill, and Madness, the headliners, and Flowered Up, then the latest in a direct line of culturally significant groups from the capital.
Scottish chamber-folk artist Jo Hamilton spent a peripatetic childhood shuttling around the Middle East, Cambodia and Sri Lanka, during which time she clearly soaked up a range of musical influences.
When American showbiz lawyer Steven Machat entered the family business, he dealt with Michael Jackson, James Brown, Sam Cooke and many more. In this exclusive extract from his memoir he gives some of his recollections
He is a No 1 star in France, but Charlie Winston is virtually unknown back in his native Britain, writes Nick Hasted
Nine Lives continues in the vein of 2003's About Time, with Steve Winwood still mining a catalogue of bland homilies regarding such things as hope, faith and persistence for songs such as "I'm Not Drowning", "Fly" and "We're All Looking".
More happily, the album also extends his association with the jazz guitarist José Pires de Almeida Neto, whose neat, interior-sprung figures furnish the hooks to many of these songs, lending a cyclical, desert-blues feel to "I'm Not Drowning", a Pablo-style soukous tinge to "Hungry Man", and a samba-pop flavour to "Secrets" and "At Times We Do Forget". Lyrically, Winwood is more effective on the dystopian social unease in pieces such as "Hungry Man" and "Dirty City", but the album's too awash in new-age blather: the effect is to skew the arrangements too much towards dinner-party blue-eyed soul, somewhere between Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins, particularly when the flimsy, fusion-lite sax appears. He can still deliver even the limpest of lines with compelling conviction, for all that.
Here Is What Is is the soundtrack to a documentary in which the acclaimed producer of Dylan, U2 and Peter Gabriel tries to reveal “the source of the art, rather than everything that surrounds the art” – an impossible task, but one he comes close to fulfilling at various points here, most notably in enabling “Lovechild” to blossom into a complete song from the initial root of Garth Hudson’s piano improvisation.
Peter Gabriel has one in his studio. Bjork takes hers on tour. But what exactly is it? Tim Walker gets to grips with the radical new instrument that's part digital sampler, part light-show – and part toy